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SAALFELD, a town of Germany, in the duchy of SaxeMeiningen, picturesquely situated on the left bank of the Saale, 24 m. S. of Weimar and 77 S.W. of Leipzig by rail. Pop. (1905) 13,245. One of the most ancient towns in Thuringia, Saalfeld, once the capital of the extinct duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld, is still partly surrounded by old walls and bastions, and contains some interesting medieval buildings, among them being a palace, ,built in 1679 on the site of the Benedictine abbey of St Peter, which was destroyed during the Peasants' War. Other notable edifices are the Gothic church of St John, dating from the beginning of the 13th century; the Gothic town hall, completed in 1537; and, standing on an eminence above the river, the Kitzerstein, a palace said to have been originally erected by the German king Henry I., although the present building is not older than the 16th century. But perhaps the most interesting relic of the past in Saalfeld is the striking ruin of the Hoher Schwarm, called later the Sorbenburg, said to have been erected in the 7th century. Saalfeld is situated in one of the busiest parts of Meiningen and has a number of prosperous industries, including the manufacture of machinery, bricks, colours, malt, cigars, hosiery and vinegar. Other industries are brewing, printing and iron-founding, and there are ochre and iron mines in the neighbourhood.
Saalfeld grew up around the abbey founded in 1075 by Anno, archbishop of Cologne, and the palace built by the emperor Frederick I. In 1389 it was purchased by the landgrave of Thuringia, and with this district it formed part of Saxony. In 1680 it became the capital of a separate duchy, but in 1699 it was united with Saxe-Coburg, passing to Saxe-Meiningen in 1826. On the 10th of October 1806 a battle took place near Saalfeld between the French and the Prussians, during which Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia was killed.
See Wagner and Grobe, Chronik der Stadt Saalfeld (Saalfeld, 1865-1867), and Thiimmel, Kriegstage aus Saalfelds Vergangenheit (Berlin, 1882).
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